If I Became Successful…
Do you want to be inspired? Listen to this podcast called “How I Built This.” It’s all about taking a deep dive into the stories of some of the world’s best known companies…how it got started, what ideas led to the creation of the products or services they sell, plus the intimate, deep, personal and painful events that motivated and drove their passion – the near bankrupted failures, miraculous and serendipitous events that eventually led to huge, iconic success. Over and over again, I am amazed at the resilience and the will of human effort and hard work that accompany their incredible accomplishments. Yes, it’s very, very inspiring.
One example: did you know that Airbnb got started by a few starving college kids needing some extra cash to pay their own rent and decided to house some strangers into their apartment because all the hotels were booked for a conference that was happening in their neighborhood? They bought some cheap airbeds and called it an Air Bed & Breakfast. This simple idea eventually became a 25 billion-dollar company.
Every episode has a different takeaway and each story is unique. The host of the podcast (Guy Raz) does such an amazing job pulling out interesting and personal facts about the interviewee, with such a gift for keeping it interesting and relevant…his questions feel customized to that individual person to uncover what made them stand out and propelled them to become who they are today.
However, strangely, at the end of each episode, he always asks the same question to every interviewee, every single time, and the question goes like this: “So, with all you’ve achieved in your company and/or in your life, do you attribute your success to luck or hard work?”
Throughout the many episodes, I’ve heard all different combinations of answers. A majority of the people seem to understand that in order to have extraordinary success, you kind of need both. Some say 50/50, some say 25/75, some even say, “I don’t believe in luck, it was all hard work.”
I often wonder why this question is so significant, and why it’s worth asking every single interviewee… is there a deeper meaning behind it? My own interpretation of it is… do you attribute your success to your talents, your grit, your leadership, your idea, your intelligence, your charisma (so, basically YOU) or do you attribute your success to something bigger than yourself?
Sometimes I dream about being interviewed by Guy Raz (lol), and I think about how I would answer his last question. I’ve even practiced this in my head…I would say, “well Guy, thanks for asking. It’s a great question, and I would have to say, I know so many people that are smarter than me, I know so many people that work 10 times harder than me, I know so many people that are more charismatic, who are incredible leaders, and more creative, with more grit and more talent than I’ll ever even dream of, but that will never have the opportunity for extraordinary success…so, I can’t really take a lot of credit for it. I believe in divine appointments, fate, faith, relationships and opportunities that unpredictably lead to things beyond my imagination. And my job is to be grateful and generous.” That would be my answer.
I am curious, what would be your answer?
Rooting for you to be able to tell Guy someday! In the meantime, feel free to send me an email and let me know your thoughts.